Thursday, May 05, 2011

Italy: Wave of arrests among radical student group in Florence

May 4 2011

A second wave of arrests among radical circles has hit Italy again this
morning. The operation, that was led by the police and secret service
departments, has concluded with 22 banning orders and a total of 78 people
under investigation in Florence, 5 under home arrest.

All of them are believed to be connected with the local social centre
Spazio Liberato 400 colpi (Liberated Space 400 Blows), which played a huge
part in the student protests of last autumn. The charges are in some
instances similar to the ones made against the Bologna arrestees last
month, of subversive and criminal association, but some are more specific:
damage to private or public property, illegal occupation of public
buildings, violence against police officers, disruption to public
services. These all refer to the direct actions and protests that student
groups carried out all over Italy between November and December 2010 in
particular, when huge groups of protesters occupied train and bus
stations, monuments and other public places.

The 78 people under investigation are all believed to have participated in
actions that took place during those months in Florence, such as damage to
banks and cash points, sabotage of CCTV installations, damage and attacks
against headquarters of local political parties and international
companies, occupations of public and private buildings and disruption of
public transport by the occupation of train stations and main roads. For
info and videos of the protests read my previous articles by clicking on
“Students” under the Categories menu. Once again, the police and the media
have claimed that weapons were found in the social centre: have a look
here at the dangerous weapons of mass destruction for a laugh (or a cry…).
Earlier on in January, the same social centre had announced online the
discovery of 2 bugs in the building.

In a repetition of methods used in other historical circumstances, Italian
authorities are once again engaged in a ruthless and brutal crackdown of
any radical (and less radical, for that matter) form of dissent. They
might have been astonished and almost paralysed by the size and creativity
of the protests but their intention now is clear: to scare the thousands
people who took to the streets during the last few months by punishing a
few, the ones they believe to be the instigators and leaders; to cause
friction and division between groups and individuals with different
tactics and strategies and, ultimately, to reaffirm their power and have
their revenge. But they can’t stop the seeds of resistance spreading, any
more than they can still the winds of change.

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